Chief Innovation and Policy Officer
Maria Heidkamp is the Chief Innovation and Policy Officer at the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, where she leads the Council’s efforts to promote Community College innovation through sharing best practices, convening partners, and delivering professional development opportunities. She is the lead staff member to the Council’s Economic Mobility, Student and Alumni, and Racial and Social Justice committees. She is also leading the development and expansion of state and national partnerships in support of Community College priorities, including the engagement of adult learners.
Before joining the Council, she was the Director of Program Development and Senior Researcher at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, where she focused on dislocated workers, long-term unemployed job seekers, older workers, and job seekers with disabilities. She was the founding director of the Heldrich Center’s New Start Career Network, an initiative that assisted over 6,000 older, long-term unemployed New Jerseyans. She was a CoChair for New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Labor and Workforce Development Policy Transition Committee and a subject-matter expert for the National Governors Association’s Good Jobs for All Americans initiative under Montana Governor Steve Bullock.
Previously, Ms. Heidkamp worked overseas for the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Agency for International Development as the Director of the Labor Market Transition Project in Hungary, helping the Hungarian government develop policies and programs to respond to the mass layoffs caused by privatization and restructuring during the post-communism transition years. She has worked as a Policy Analyst for the National Governors Association on workforce issues and served as Director of the Wisconsin Labor-Management Council. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Government from Cornell University and a Master’s degree from New York University, where her thesis topic was The Role of Public Libraries in Assisting Job Seekers During and Since the Great Recession.